Houston SPCA advises how to keep pets safe during this scorching summer
Summer in Texas this year is no joke. As daily temperatures remain in the triple digits, it's up to all of us to make sure that pets are cool, comfortable, and properly cared for.
So far, the Houston SPCA has managed more than two times the number of heat-related calls as last year. There were 243 heat-related reports from June 1 through June 20 this year, compared to 87 heat-related calls during that same time in 2022.
The animal protection organization is concerned for outdoor pets, as 100-degree days aren't going away anytime soon.
“We are keeping a close watch on the weather since we expect temperatures to soar into the 100s again. That means every second counts when rescuing and treating heatstroke,” says Dr. Roberta Westbrook, chief veterinarian and animal medical officer at Houston SPCA.
Here a few helpful reminders, along with the important signs of heatstroke.
1. Make sure your pets are safely inside during extreme temperatures and the hottest parts of the day, 2 pm-4:30 pm. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them!
2. If your pets are outside and confined during the day, remember that the sun shifts, possibly putting them in direct sunlight.
3. Check on them often. Water can evaporate when it’s hot outside, and pets can tip over water bowls, leaving them without proper hydration.
4. Taking your pup to a pet-friendly bar or restaurant? Be sure to test surfaces by holding your hand on it for at least seven seconds before letting your pet sit there.
5. Never leave your pet in the car, even if the windows are partially rolled down and the car is in the shade. Cars can reach an internal temperature of 119 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a 100-degree day.
Keep an eye out for these signs of heatstroke:
- Heavy panting
- Uncoordinated movements
- Acting lethargic
Houston SPCA chief veterinarian Dr. Roberta Westbrook recommends removing the pet out of the heat first before offering cool — not cold — water to drink (cold water can shock their system).
Next, wipe them down with a large, damp towel to help lower their body temperature. Contact your veterinarian if you don’t see any immediate changes.
"Leaving your pet outside can have devastating consequences, as we have seen recently with several cases where animals were left outside," says Dr. Westbrook. "If you plan on leaving your home, please check to make sure your pet is inside to ensure their safety during this potentially deadly heat wave."
Subjecting animals to life-threatening conditions is animal cruelty and is a felony in the state of Texas, punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
If you see an animal injured or in distress, please call the Houston SPCA at 713-869-7722 immediately.